Mental health teams fanning out to all dorms in Guyana – Dr Ramsammy

Given the gravity of the Mahdia dormitory fire and the psychological effects which may affect students living in dorms, mental health teams have been dispatched to offer support to residents of such facilities across the country.
Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony, on Thursday informed that while five teams have been sent to Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) to target schools, mental health professionals are also fanning out to all dormitories.
Presently, Mount Sinai, Southcom Health Clinic, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) are lending support. A team from Northwell Health is expected this weekend to bolster the mental health response.
“Whilst this is an immediate response, further short-, medium- and long-term responses for mental health will also be in place…We are also cognizant that children attending schools throughout Region Eight will need counselling and mental health support. These teams will fan out to the various schools,” Dr Ramsammy has said.
“We are also aware that children that are presently accommodated in dorms across the country, particularly in the hinterland, must be traumatised by this experience. Mental health teams are fanning out to these other dorms to provide support,” Dr Ramsammy shared in an update.
Psychiatrists, child psychologists, counselors and social workers make up the teams which have been dispatched to Mahdia. As at Friday, there were five teams in the region.
Dr Ramsammy detailed, “Whilst the medical response is ensuring that all the children are being taken care of, there is also a mental health response…The mental health teams are also visiting the villages, finding both male and female students. They are also talking to the teachers, other support staff, to the family members. So, there is a comprehensive mental health response.”
Dr Ramsammy pointed out that every child who was medevacked for treatment in Georgetown has also been offered such services.
“A similar response is being done in Georgetown. All of the children who have been medevacked and are receiving care at the Georgetown Hospital, whilst in hospital and those discharged, are receiving services and care from the mental health team,” he posited.
Three more persons were medevacked to Georgetown Public Hospital on Thursday, bringing the total count treated at the hospital up to 32. While two are solely for observation, the third is under intensive care for ingesting a poisonous substance.
It was previously reported that ‘one boy’ who reportedly attempted to commit suicide was extracted through medical evacuation (medevac) effort. This was divulged by Security Adviser Gerry Gouveia. Six more young people who were placed on suicide watch were also transported there.
As at Thursday, in Mahdia and other villages, the teams have worked with 260 persons, including 126 children.
Director General of the Health Ministry, Dr Vishwa Mahadeo, is providing overall oversight of the medical response in the region, in ensuring that an enhanced medical team remains in place at Mahdia for follow-up in the next three months. (G12)